Book Review: Bringing Adam Home, the Abduction that Changed America
This paper gives a review on the book Bringing Adam home: the abduction that changed America. It also considers not only the main themes of the story but also gives examples of how this horrible case changed the society and the whole system of searching missing children. Adam’s parents made a great job for the American society: they changed the system, made TV lineups telling about the most dangerous murderers, created different organizations. The main conclusion is that this story is an example of an eternal love of parents to their children and how they can be brave and courageous to change something in the world.
Keywords: children’s abduction.
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Book Review: Bringing Adam Home, the Abduction that changed America
In the USA there was closed sensational case of abduction and murder of 8-year-old Adam Walsh after years of investigation. The man, who was considered as the prime suspect and who died in prison, was officially declared guilty of the 27 years ago crime.
Adam Walsh disappeared in July 27, 198 from the department store in Hollywood, where his mother left him unattended for a while. After about two weeks there was accidentally discovered child’s head in Florida. It wasn’t possible to find other parts of body. During the investigation the main suspect was a serial killer Ottis Toole.
Toole confessed himself guilty in killing the child, but later he refused from his words. The crime killer didn’t appear before a tribunal because of the lack of convincing evidence. In 1996 Toole died in prison, where he was serving a sentence for another offence.
Walsh’s case received great response and led to the reform in the police search for missing children. It also change the way Americans-parents regard the safety of their own offspring.
Later in 2011 there was a book published by Les Standiford with the support of Joe Matthews. This true story draws us the whole picture of how 27-yeat investigation passed. This book shows a real justice and enduring love throughout years.
Joe Matthews, who was the co-author of this book, gave all the information for this book. He drew himself as a hero, because police couldn’t move on in investigation of this murder, but Matthews did it. The only thing that can give doubts to the reader is that Joe Matthews is a co-author that means that he could picture himself much better.
One and the most terrific fact that is shown in the book is why police didn’t make all action to save a child, why there were any obstacles to announce the child’s abduction. This police insolvency led to the child’s death.
The main mistake of this book, despite it draws a picture of Adam’s case, is that it focuses on the crime itself, on Ottis Toole and another serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. But the book doesn’t focus on Adam’s parents. It doesn’t tell how much they did for American society and how many children they brought back home. It is very important not only to perpetuate an investigation of the crime but also to eternalize the actions to which led Adam’s death.
It is unbelievable how blind people can be. Adam was stolen from a supermarket and nobody gave any attention.
The book is well-written, but nevertheless, it has some wick points like withholding information from the reader. It is done in purpose to make a great tension. It should be mentioned that this book is a “ true crime” story and should be full of facts. It is written in a very bookish way.
The main theme that is raised in the book is the children abduction. It is very important to understand that this issue is very serious, because even several days of delay in investigation can lead to the child’s death.
Nowadays in the USA there lost about 800 thousand children. Most of them leave the house alone, but in a third of cases we are talking about are the abductions. More than 99 percent of American children are returning home alive.
Experts agree that the most effective help for children is organized in the United States. The American system of urgent public awareness about abducted children Amber Alert has become a model for the world and repeatedly copied.
Adam’s case showed once again that minutes are counted with the disappearance of children. According to statistics, if a child is kidnapped by a stranger, victim is killed within a few hours. Therefore, the police quickly learned that getting information about such crimes should immediately use all possible resources. One of these resources is the public that needs to be as soon as possible informed about the incident.
In the U. S. there are strict rules, in which case the police announces alert. First, children must be over 17 years. Second, the law enforcement agencies should consider that there has been a kidnapping and that the live and health of the missing are in danger. Thirdly, the police should have enough information on the exterior of the offender or his car in order to release the correct orientation.
When the police announce alert, information about a missing child begin to spread through all possible channels: local radio, television, on roadside billboards and mobile devices. During recent years, information is published on the web, like Google and Facebook, applying ads to areas where there is a user of the site. Data that isdistributed by media includes indication of the place where the child was gone, a description of his appearance, the appearance of the suspect or the vehicle, which could be related to the kidnapping.
All these actions are made now, but they were not done earlier. Adam’s abduction and brave campaign of his parents led to the several changes in the American society. They are heroes who made the government change the system controlling children’s safety. Below we can see all the information about the actions that John Walsh and his wife Reve made bringing other children back home.
The child’s father, John Walsh, who previously worked in the hotel business, after his son’s death, started to lead the public campaign against the crime and protection of children. In 1982 and 1984 together with his wife Reve Walsh and associates he pushed through two federal laws protecting abducted children.
Since 1988, John Walsh is on TV FOX show ” America’s Most Wanted”, which is designed to help the authorities in apprehending the murderers, rapists, child molesters and other criminals.
Walsh parents also founded the Center of children reforms named by Adam Walsh. They persuaded almost all public organizations to adopt a procedure of working with missing children – the so-called ” Adam’sCode “.
However, some skeptics believe that John Walsh’swork brought more harm to the society. For example, considering a prominent criminologist Richard Moran, Walsh’s actions raised a whole generation of children who are afraid of any contact with a stranger. In addition, his social activities turned many parents into paranoids.
Walsh’s lineup, in which he reported to a national audienceinformation on the most dangerous criminals, was extremely beneficial.
For example, in the early 1990s, the program America’s Most Wanted helped to solve the 20 years ago crime. In December 7, 1971 police in Westfield, New Jersey, found the bodies of five people in one of the houses. Detectives speculated that terrible massacre was arranged by an absent head of the family – Mr. Page, who finished with a wife, mother, daughter and two sons. In those times police failed to find a fugitive.
20 years later, Liszt photo was shown on television, and experts ” wear out” the image to make it easier for citizens to find the fugitive. A resident of Virginia identified his neighbor shown in a photo – Robert Clark. After fingerprinting the suspect, everything fell into place – Clark escaped and turned accountant Liszt, who was searched for two decades.
In December 2000, seven dangerous robbers escaped from a Texas prison, having made perhaps the most unbelievable escape in history. Criminals attacked the guards, dressed in their uniforms, sneaked into the prison armory and stole a van.
In the future, the so-called ” Texas Seven” made a robbery during which a policeman was killed. Law enforcement officers knocked down in search of criminals, but only the next edition of the program America’s Most Wanted helped to catch fugitives.
In conclusion it is necessary to say that Adam’s case helped America to change for better: to change the whole system of searching missing children, to create different helpful organizations, to add pictures on milk and to make parents more attentive to their children. Adam’s parents are brave and courageous people who went through 27-year nightmare. This book gives us a story of struggle and fight and eternal love of parents to their children.
Standiford, L., & Matthews, J. (2011). Bringing Adam home: the abduction that changed America. New York: Ecco.